It takes the tolerant of the terrorist to live with the terrorist – Bala Ibrahim
By Bala Ibrahim
A Video of the Labour Party, LP, presidential candidate, Peter Obi is currently trending on the social media, lifted from an interview on Channels Television, where Mr Obi is denouncing the claim of the Federal Government, that the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, is a terrorist organization. Following the implication of IPOB in inciting violence against the state and other actors, Nigeria proscribed it as a terrorist organisation, because by law, the government has a legitimate duty to pursue and arrest persons who are, or are suspected of being involved with, or supporting any group that poses a threat to national safety and security.
Despite the evident and countless atrocities committed by IPOB, including the maiming of people, killings of security operatives and the various cases of arson carried out by the group, Peter is of the opinion that IPOB members are not terrorists. “The only thing I disagree with is naming IPOB terrorist, they are not terrorists. I know them, I live with them. I usually see people gathering, and I have never had the sense of threat or molestation from them, even when they gather. Those who took the decision may have information that I don’t have. I stay in Onitsha, and I can tell you that they are people I pass them on the road every day”- Peter Obi.
There is a popular saying that it takes a thief to catch a thief, and the simple explanation of the phrase is, one dishonest person can guess what another dishonest person might do, or is doing, and because they share a common mission, they can be described as people of the same qualities. This assumption is premised on the fact that people who share the same objectives cannot easily change the way they behave and think, hence, once a thief, always a thief. Or once a terrorist, always a terrorist.
In theorizing such credence, Donna Fleming said there is a nexus between a thief and a terrorist, because both of them rob you of the truth you deserve. “You can’t really trust them concerning anything, so there really isn’t any hope of having a good relationship with them. In addition, it’s nearly impossible to make a plan to deal with a liar, because you don’t know what is true and what is not. If the thief in this scenario is not a liar, I would take the thief. But to be a thief, you must be a liar, and the terrorist combines thievery and terrorism. You can make a plan to deal with a thief, especially if you know they will give honest answers to your questions. But you cant with a terrorist. Aligning with any of the two, is like aligning with dishonesty”.
Disturbed by their nuisance, including the incessant agitation for the actualization of Biafra, the Nigerian government proscribed IPOB, but despite the proscription, its leader, Nnamdi Kanu, continued to push for the actualization of the same separatist agenda. After committing a lot of havoc, Nnamdi Kanu fled the country, when security operatives tried to arrest him in September 2017. But pursuant to the international collaborative efforts with security agencies, Kanu was arrested outside the country and repatriated to Nigeria. Since then, Mr Kanu and his co-defendant are facing treasonable felony charges at the Federal High Court in Abuja.
Addressing the press on the atrocities of IPOB, the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami said the armed separatists killed about 175 security personnel, and a number of high-profile persons between October 2020 and June 2021. “on October 21, 2020, Nnamdi Kanu, through an online call-in radio programme (Radio Biafra), further instigated IPOB members to burn down all police stations and kill government security forces, which was carried out and several security personnel (especially police officers) were killed and public and private properties destroyed. One hundred and seventy-five (175) security personnel were killed by IPOB/ESN, comprising one hundred and twenty eight (128) policemen, thirty seven (37) military personnel and ten (10) other security operatives”-Malami.
But all these not withstanding, the Presidential candidate of the LP, Mr. Peter Obi, has not for once, seen anything wrong in what Kanu is doing. In fact, while northern leaders, including prominent party leaders from the region, were in the forefront of the pressure on the government to classify Boko Haram as a terrorist organization, Peter Obi is strongly supporting the action of his kinsmen in IPOB.
According to Adamu Garba, of the APC, Peter Obi would not call IPOB terrorists because it may affect his 2023 presidential ambition. He said if Obi wants to be seen as a nationalist, and not the regionalist that he looks like, with silent sympathy for a separatists agenda, he should call a press conference and declare IPOB a terrorist organization. “To disprove Miyetti Allah, Peter Obi should go to Arewa House, organize a media conference & categorically call IPOB as terrorists that they are, like all senior political leaders from the North called Boko Haram and Bandits as terrorists. But Alas, he may not do that.”
Just this morning, I saw another video on the social media, where another young man was talking with similar sentimentality to that of Nnamdi Kanu. With the boldness of a separatist, and the recklessness of an anarchist, the guy was unequivocal, that elections would not hold in the south east come 2023. The region he said, would only hold a referendum, on whether to exit Nigeria in peace, as Biafra, or Biafra engages the Nigerian state in a Gorilla warfare.
This a bad omen in support of the saying that, it takes the tolerant of the terrorist to live with the terrorist.
Ibrahim, APC Director of Publicity, writes from Abuja.